Monday, October 31, 2011

Teddy Bears' Picnic

These cute little bears, T2, T4, and T3 were promised a special treat with five other bears, so here is the picture story of what they all got to do. 

The song words are to one of my favorite songs as a child, The Teddy Bears' Picnic, and here is a link to the music:
Song words are by Jimmy Kennedy

I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I do. 

If you go out in the woods today
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go out in the woods today
You'd better go in disguise.

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for teddy bears,
The little teddy bears are having a lovely time today.
Watch them, catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.
See them gaily dance about.
They love to play and shout.
And never have any cares.
At six o'clock their mommies and daddies
Will take them home to bed
Because they're tired little teddy bears.

If you go out in the woods today,
You'd better not go alone.
It's lovely out in the woods today,
But safer to stay at home.

For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain, because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic


Every teddy bear, that's been good
Is sure of a treat today
There's lots of wonderful things to eat
And wonderful games to play

Beneath the trees, where nobody sees
They'll hide and seek as long as they please
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic


 Patiently waiting for tea.
 My granddaughter Emily poured.

Twenty-five year old Mist Er Bear was excited, because he got to come along, too.  He is my oldest daughter Becky's bear, and lives at Emily's house.  He is sitting at the picnic with T2.

T1 and T7 enjoying tea made by their great grandma Rosemarie.

T5 is giving T7 the apple challenge.  Let's see how he does with it!

Very good, T7!  You are pretty awesome at balancing that big heavy apple on your tummy!

T6, T3 and T1.  T3 thinks he is pretty good at balancing a candy pumpkin on his toe!

Hungry bears, T4 and T6, love great grandma Dort's molassas cookies.  They polished them off quickly.

T8 hid by Mist Er Bear because he didn't feel very good yet.  He had pins in his ears and it hurt.  Kind of like getting pierced ears.

After their picnic tea, they all had so much fun playing.  They had the most fun climbing the trees.
T1 on the left.
T2 on the right.

T3 on the left.
T4 on the right.

T5 on the left.
T6 on the right



After lots of playing, Grandma made all the bears take a nap before going to Emily's house to do something else that I promised would be just as fun as their picnic.  They whined a little, but they were tired little Teddy bears, and went to sleep after just a little bit of wrestling with each other.

Yea!! We got the pumpkins all ready for Halloween.  From left to right: T1, T3, T7, T6 in back, T2, T5, T8, and T4.
Scary pumpkin

Emily and all the bears.
The bears were definitely up past their bedtime.  I got them into the car, and they were all asleep by the time I got five minutes down the road!  Emily and I had such a great time with them, and I'm sure we will have some more fun times before they get adopted at Christmas.

My thumb has been hurting all day, so I didn't sew on T8's ears, or finish T9.  I will get back to them in a few days.  Keep posted!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

T2, T3, and T4 Have Arrived!

A lot has been accomplished since my last post.  I did the sewing in two stages--everything I could do before pressing seams open, and then additional sewing after pressing.  Here are the stacks for eight bears.
Here is everything pinned after the first pressing.  I tried to work on a new step every day after coming home from work, and on my days off.
All the parts are turned after the second sewing.  My 25 year old pattern book is propped up on the box.  I have seen it on ebay, so I know it is still available, and maybe on Amazon, too.  I put eyes and noses in two bears.
A couple bears joints are installed, and are waiting to get packed up to go see Great Grandma and Grandpa.  I was able to get all the joints installed while we drove downstate.
I had this much done by Thursday bedtime.  Three of them are starting to take shape, and the rest are all jointed and waiting for stuffing.  
All of them were stuffed by Friday.  Now I am working on the tedious hand work:  stitching the openings closed and adding the eyes and nose to the head before stuffing it, sewing the head on, adding mouth and toe details, and finally tacking on the ears.
From left to right I am holding T2, T4, and T3, the three that were finished before the trip home.  They were pretty good bears on the long ride, and only started whining "Are we were there yet?" for the last half hour.  By then, though, there were two more, so I was glad to get home and put them to bed!  Tomorrow, if it is nice outside, I may treat them to something special.  T5 was still sore from getting poked with a needle, and T6 still needs ears tacked on, so I won't get their photo until tomorrow.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sewing Multiple Layers of Heavy Fabric

Many people think their sewing machine can't handle sewing several layers of heavy or thick fabrics because they have broken machine needles while trying it.  Hemming bluejeans is a common problem.  Most sewing machines should be able to handle the job with this simple technique.
First of all, you don't want your machine presser foot to look like this.  The steep angle causes broken needles.  It should be kept level.  So how do you do that?
 Take a piece of fabric and fold it to about the thickness of what you are trying to sew.  You could even sew a few stitches through the layers to keep the folds.  This piece is a bit of my Teddy bear fabric.
Place the folded fabric under the foot, behind the piece you are attempting to sew, and it will level the foot.  Start sewing, and keep it there until the foot is all the way onto to piece.  Just be careful not to catch it with your backstitch!
When you get close to the end of your seam, before the foot starts dipping down, insert the folded fabric in front of the foot.  Finish sewing your seam.  Now wasn't that easy?!
 This is my sewing work from today.  Eight Teddys parts are sewn as much as I can before pressing seams open.  That is a project for tomorrow, after work.

I also finished the pink Teddy fabric, plus paw fabric for two or three bears.  Warp threads started breaking, so I glued up the end of the weaving after repairing the broken warps.  I will cut the completed fabric off the loom tomorrow, and full it.  I only have one more bear fabric to weave, plus two or three paw fabrics.  I need to decide what yarn color and pattern I will be using.  I'll think about it tomorrow. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Teddy Bears Continued

The weaving continues on the two remaining bear fabrics, plus the paws for five bears.  Click on any photo for better viewing.

This is the pattern for the fabric above.  The threading is a variation of Rose Path.  It is probably in a book somewhere, but I haven't found it.  I'm sure it isn't original, but I came up with it by playing around with the Fiberworks weaving software.  I think the closest to tabby that I can get with this threading and treadling is shown at the bottom.
All the bear fabrics that are woven have been marked with the pattern pieces, and each shape has been stitched around to stabilize the edges, and all openings that have to be hand sewn have been stay-stitched.  I have started on the next part of the assembly line--cutting out half the pieces to sew together.

With the first bear, I thought I would have more control of the fabric, especially with the narrow (1/4") seams, if I cut out only one of the two pieces that need to be sewn together.  It did work out well, so that is what I am doing now.  There is a lot of cutting to do before I get back to the sewing machine.  Sounds like a good excuse to get out Pride and Prejudice and watch it again while I'm cutting!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

T1 is Finished

After sewing different ears that were smaller, and embroidering nose, mouth, and claws, I finally finished T1 (Teddy #1) a few minutes ago.  We then held a photo shoot with her 25 year old Uncle Bear.  Don't they look cute together?
    Uncle Bear was one of the bears I made 25 years ago for one of our children.  I found him a while back in the garage, and brought him in a few days ago.  Typical of how my boys were, he had dirty ears and face and was in great need of a bath.
     I put him in the bathtub, and under great protest, I smeared him up with soap and gave him a thorough washing.  He cried because I got soap in his eyes, and he didn't like water in his ears!
    And then, the worst indignity of all was the really fast spinning ride in the washer.  I guess he takes after me, and just does NOT like those scary rides!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Some Hand Sewing Stitches for Teddy

T1 (Teddy #1) is getting closer to being done, but what is left is the time consuming hand sewing.  Here is the body, head and one leg stuffed.  The head has been sewn on, and the back of the body closed.
I found some stuffing at Joann Fabrics that I am pleased with.  It's called Silky Soft and is marketed by Fairfield.  T1 doesn't feel lumpy at all, and I was a little worried about that happening, with it being fabric rather than fur.

Here is how I hand-sew the openings closed.  I knot my thread (this is a heavy top-stitching thread, waxed and doubled), start at one end of the opening, hide the knot inside, and start a ladder stitch.  Click on the photo to make it bigger.  I do quite a few stitches before taking the eye of a heavy needle and pulling the ladders tight.  I take my stitches just outside the stay-stitching at the opening.  The ladder stitch is like doing a running stitch, but alternating back and forth between both sides of the opening.  If the stitches are kept straight across the opening, they cinch up invisibly, without puckers.
When I get to the end of the opening, I use a nifty sewers knot that won't come undone, and is tiny, even with this thick thread.  The first step is to make a loop with the thread and then bring the needle up through the loop.
Another loop forms from the tail of the thread.  Take the needle down through the second loop. (Up through the first loop, down through the second loop.)
Pull on the thread to tighten the knot down to the surface of the fabric.

Can you see the knot?  I can't either, or just barely.  Even with this thick thread, it is a pretty small knot.  Now, just run the needle inside along the seam to hide the tail and exit an inch or so away and snip the thread. 

This is the best knot I have ever learned for sewing, and can be used any time you need to anchor the thread.  I use it for sewing on buttons, hemming, embroidery, smocking, tacking, etc.  The tail can be nipped off quite short, because the knot will NOT come undone!  With a single strand of regular sewing thread, the knot is very small.  Try it--you will never go back to anchoring thread your old way.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Attaching Eyes to Teddy and Starting Final Fabric

Eyes come with a shank and a gripping washer that slides onto the shank.  The newer eyes have plastic washers, but still work the same way.
I make a hole with the awl and push the eye shank through.  These eyes look quite loose because the washers haven't been put on the shanks yet.
The washer is pushed on by hand until it is very tight.  There is a right and wrong way to put on the washer.  If it is right, it can't be pulled off the shank.  I don't think it can be pushed on the wrong way because the prongs grip the shank.
This warp was a natural color with dark brown slubs that I dyed a pinky brown.  It is sett 24 epi in a 12 dent reed.
This is the weft, and it is a wool and angora mix that I dyed pink.  I'm hoping it will show more than the weft, which is quite rough.
I wove a little sample last night with a few different treadlings.  I will be using the one next to the paper tape measure, since it shows the most angora.